It has been 18 years since the beginning of GNOME project. In these 18 years, GNOME has evolved a lot and has established it's own space among other desktop environments. It is believed that GNOME is most widely used open source desktop environments.
GNOME was founded on Friday, August 15, 1997, by Miguel de lcaza and Federico Mena Quintero , who were university students at that time. At the time they were aiming to develop a free (as defined by Free Software Foundation) desktop environment that is simple and user friendly.
In September, GNOME foundation will release GNOME 3.18 as a birth day release. Developers claims that, this release will mark more progress towards it's founding principles.